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August 26-September 2, 2009

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Letters to the Editor

Rubber Stamp Rip-off

THANK YOU for reminding us of the injustice of our justice system regarding "lifers" who are not, or no longer are, dangerous ("No Exit," Cover Story, Aug. 19). Keeping them, and the very elderly and infirm, locked up only serves as hollow revenge and is bankrupting California. The rubber-stamped parole denials cost us too much money.

If we actually evaluated our inmates individually, perhaps the man who killed the officers in San Francisco after being released would still be in prison. And many people with salvageable lives could be paroled. That would keep us safer, and save our tax payer dollars.

Marie Callahan,

Doing The Right Thing

IN RESPONSE to the letter by Jason Nelson titled "That's Capitalism, Folks" (Posts, Aug. 12): We, the residents of Surf & Sand, also have mixed emotions regarding the plight of our homes and Mr. Reed's right to more capital for his land. Most of us purchased our homes in this designated "over 55 park" years ago, fully expecting to remain here permanently. Consequently, each of us has upgraded our home for permanency in conjunction with the Reed family requirements. When Mr. Reed, upon the death of his parents, inherited the park, he began talking about selling the park, we asked for the first right of refusal to purchase the park. We were turned down at that time, but later Mr. Reed offered the park to the residents a second time for $110,000 per space, consisting of a piece of land that is approximately 25 feet by 60 feet long. In any legitimate real estate mobile park transaction, the infrastructure must be examined. The Reed family would not agree to such inspection. Consequently, the deal was denied. A third attempt to purchase was made and once again after his offer and five months have elapsed, the Reeds rescinded their offer.

We have attempted to do the "right" thing and we do not know what more we can do to assure that the Reeds be allowed to sell their land for a reasonable sum of money. As long-term renters, we feel they have been more than adequately compensated for their original purchase price of this four-plus acres, but we have been willing to go the added mile to continue to stay here.

Just as you presume, we the residents do not have the financial capability to purchase this land. The city already owns one mobile home park, but that is not to be considered a barrier to owning another park. As tax paying citizens we, too, would have a stake in this purchase. We have made our contributions to the starving children, cancer-ridden and disabled people. We have donated to our pension funds and are now looking at losing these funds for the capital gain of the Reed family. With good business sense the city will help us keep this property as low- income and for the elderly and disabled residents. We hope life will go on after Dec. 31 as well.

Shirley Hill,

Desal And U

I AM WRITING to correct a misstatement made by Santa Cruz Water director Bill Kocher ("Desal and the Public Process," Posts, Aug. 5). Commenting on the city's plans for a desalination plant, Kocher said the following: "The desalination project is in no way linked to any expansion of the UC-Santa Cruz campus." This is simply not true.

The city and the university jointly signed a "Comprehensive Settlement Agreement" that was incorporated into a Superior Court Judgment dated Sept. 12, 2008. Exhibit B to the Agreement says this: "The Santa Cruz City Water Department (SCCWD) intends to pursue the phased incremental implementation of a desalination plant on the Westside of Santa Cruz. The parties ... agree that the assumptions related to the scope and nature of the desalination plant are as follows: ... Phase Two (and subsequent phases) would be implemented to accommodate future growth in system demand."

In other words, the city has officially promised the University in a formal agreement to pursue a "Phase Two" and subsequent phases of the desalination project to meet "system demand," which most definitely includes the proposed growth of UC-Santa Cruz. 

The city is also pursuing an application at the Local Agency Formation Commission that will result in the allocation of  virtually all the city's remaining "surplus" water (if there actually is any such surplus water) to allow the construction of over 3 million square feet of new construction on the UCSC North Campus. Current water customers may or may not face a hookup moratorium because of this.

Whatever the merits of the UCSC-City Settlement Agreement, city officials should at least be accurate when they describe what it requires. It requires the city to pursue desalination (certainly subject to environmental review) to accommodate UCSC and other growth.

Alan Holbert,
Santa Cruz

Barbie Rebellion?

I WANTED to bring to your attention a few things not mentioned in Curtis Cartier's article about living at Mission Garden Apartments ("Tenets for Tenants," Currents, Aug. 12). I have been a resident at Mission Gardens for three and a half years and have been feeling uncomfortable with the new management. John Stewart Company has issued a new lease with terms that I think are too invasive. Come September I will no longer be able to bring home secondhand items without approval by inspection from management or have a family barbecue, let alone store a barbecue, without it being a breach on contract.

The thought that my daughter can't ride her new bike and has to settle for playing inside makes me sad. John Stewart has made no mention of whether they would fix the community park that is provided for the residents which has been in disrepair for years. If the company is not going to allow my daughter to play ball in her front yard they need to provide her a safe place to play, not a rotten wood structure that the metal monkey bars are so loose they could fall on her head.

 I am hoping that instead of separating the tenants because of a smoking ban these new lease terms will bring the residents together as a community by forcing us to break some of the rules, together. Maybe through a few Barbies or have a neighborhood yard sale. We need to take our apartments back and stand up for the children and their precious childhood.

Alicia Acquistapace,
Santa Cruz

Due to an editing error in last week's cover story, the pullquote on page 15 was mistakenly attributed to District Attorney Bob Lee. The text of the story had it right; it was Sheriff Phil Wowak who made the statement. We regret the error.

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